Steinhatchee Fishing: All You Need to Know
Sep 9, 2020 | 9 minute read
Reading Time: 9 minutes

Going on a Steinhatchee fishing adventure is the perfect way to experience this charming small town and its great angling opportunities. Here, the fish bite all year round, and whether you are an experienced angler or a complete rookie, you’re sure to see some action and have thrilling experiences. Discover why angling enthusiasts flock here from all over the country year after year.

A coastal florida home overlooking the Gulf

For more than 200 years this region has been known for its abundant fishing grounds. Once a Native American territory, nowadays Steinhatchee is known for various fishing tournaments and its Scallop specialties. If you’re interested in ocean fishing, you’ll love Deadman’s Bay and beyond. On the other hand, the Steinhatchee River will provide you with a chance to catch saltwater and freshwater species alike. 

Steinhatchee Fish Species

When it comes to the sheer number of different fish specimens, you’ll definitely be spoiled for choice. The combination of ocean and river waters in the Steinhatchee area ensures there’s something for everyone. This article may not cover all the species in the region, but it can give you the lay of the land.

Kingfish

This magnificent catch easily secures the top position of popular targets in the region. Famous for its ferocious appetite, Kingfish never fails to amaze. It’s always a true spectacle seeing this agile beast jump up to several feet in the air. You can find it in abundance during summer months when it goes hunting for bait fish around the island. 

A proud angler holding a large King Mackerel on his boat

On the whole, the best fishing spot for King Mackerel is around underwater structure 30 feet deep. These spots are in no shortage locally, as Steinhatchee’s fishery seems like it was almost built for this. Occasionally, you might even catch one from the shore. This is especially true in the summer when their food is plentiful in the shallow coastal waters.   

Tarpon

Continuing with the royalty theme, we get to Tarpon, also known as the “Silver King.” This fish has a near-mythical status as the most prized inshore species anywhere in the world. Capable of reaching monster sizes, a large Tarpon is an intimidating opponent for even the most skilled anglers out there.

Angler posing with a Tarpon he just caught while keeping the fish in the water

Easily spooked, they often make it difficult for anglers to get within striking range. Then, their boney jaws are notoriously resistant to being firmly hooked. Finally, their acrobatic ability makes every battle a nail-biter till the end. Combine these factors and it’s instantly clear why catching a Tarpon is a story every angler will keep telling as long as they can.

Redfish

Whenever you visit Steinhatchee, you can try your luck with these biters. Not only are they available throughout the entire year, but they’re loads of fun. You don’t need to worry whether they’re in your league. There’s something for everyone with this inshore fish. Inexperienced anglers can target smaller sizes, while those looking for a challenge may try Bull specimens. 

A smiling young angler holding a Redfish on a boat

Another great feature of the Redfish is that you can engage with versatile techniques to catch it. The standard way of getting it is with light tackle casting. You could also troll the flats. However, for people who want to go for tailing Bull Redfish, sight casting in the shallows is the best option. Or simply go the old-fashioned way and get a big one on the fly.  

Snappers

Aficionados of nearshore fishing will tell you not to miss out on the chance for a Red Snapper trophy. This species is the reason why so many anglers travel to Florida. So why not discover their beauty for yourself?! Unfortunately, Snappers are seasonal fish, which makes them a tricky catch. Be sure to book your trip for summer in advance so you wouldn’t miss out. 

A man in sunglasses and a hat holding a Red Snapper with open sea behind him

Still, Steinhatchee offers more options when it comes to Snappers. Many different species of them swim around the reefs which are nearby. Throughout all the seasons you might come across Lane, Mutton, Mangrove, and Vermillion Snappers. With a little bit of luck, you’ll soon have a full bag of these delicious fish. 

Scallops

Even though Scallops are obviously not a fish, it would be a crime not to mention them. As the surrounding waters are teeming with these yummy mollusks, it’s no wonder they’ve become the pride of the Steinhatchee seafood scene. Their season lasts from mid-June till the beginning of September, so picking them would be a great addition for the family during summer vacation. 

Showing of the catch after a successful scalloping trip

If you don’t want to collect them on your own, you can easily find professional guides. The majority of these helpers are also fishing captains, meaning you could spice up your scalloping trip with a little bit of fishing. Just ask your guide in advance. But don’t fret about it too much, as Scallops are the prize family attraction during summer. After an hour or two, you’ll have loads of them ready for the dinner plate.

Types of Fishing in Steinhatchee

Generally, you’ll choose your fishing technique depending on which species of fish you’ve been dreaming of landing. It’s never a “one size fits all.” You need to see which method suits you. Basically, all of them have their advantages and disadvantages. Below, we’ve outlined some popular choices to help you start your search. 

Charter Fishing

If you have a well-defined vision of your trip and want an experience that’s tailor-made for you, then private charters are a sure hit. You’ll be able to choose any destination and try your luck with any fish. The full potential of Steinhatchee’s fishery is in the palm of your hand. Book a charter tour and secure that coveted trophy you’ve been chasing. 

A charter captain standing on his boat on the water

An additional plus of charter boats is that you’ll get to be in the company of experienced captains. These professionals can advise you which techniques and methods are best suitable for the waters you’re in, or for the particular fish you’re targeting. What’s more, with a good guide you can be more productive as they know what spots are best during your visit. 

Party Boat Fishing

If you’re both sociable and into fishing, you’ll love party boat tours. In this affordable arrangement, they get to meet new people and make friends on their trip. Since anglers come with various experiences and skill levels, you might get to learn new tricks and improve your fishing game. Furthermore, people who love healthy competition will thrive while trying to catch the biggest trophy.  

A large group of anglers at the back of a party charter boat

The downside of a large group is that the attention of the professional crew is dispersed. Inexperienced anglers might not get as much attention as is sometimes necessary, meaning they would have to manage baiting their hooks or unhooking by themselves. Also, you don’t get to be picky. In order for everyone to get a chance for a catch, you’ll take whatever fish is biting.

Kayak Fishing

People who are up for a challenge and like to be adventurous should try kayaking. A larger boat might take you to the spot, or if you’re fit enough you might set off directly from the shore. Whatever you choose, once in the water it all comes down to you. This method of fishing makes any location reachable from hidden inshore spots to offshore reefs. 

Two anglers paddling sided by side in kayaks

As thrilling as it is, kayak fishing relies heavily on angler’s abilities. Out of all the fishing tours in Steinhatchee, kayak fishing tends to be most physically demanding. You’ll need the right skills to get the fish to bite. However, you also need to think of your stamina. Usually, people paddle long distances to their spot. And let’s not forget that catching a big one takes energy.  

Shore Fishing

There are many anglers who are intrigued about trying out the local fishery, but they are put off by the idea of spending a day on ocean waves. No problem. In Steinhatchee there are scores of piers, jetties, and docks. There, you can encounter a variety of potential targets or accidentally discover a new honey hole.

Man and a boy fishing from the shore together

People who are new to the region should adjust expectations. They will probably have to visit several locations before they score a big one. Even if there’s luck on your side, chances are you won’t break records. There have been cases of anglers pulling a huge fish from the shore, but still, it’s not something you can count on.

Steinhatchee Fishing Spots

One of the reasons Steinhatchee is such a popular fishing destination is the sheer number of fishing places it holds. However, this might complicate things, as you have to pick the right one from the bunch. You’ll need to get yourself informed about locations and then consider the pros and cons. For this reason, we’ve given you some of the best places where you can try your luck.  

A gorgeous fishing spot on the Steinhatchee River
  • Steinhatchee River: This beauty holds an abundance of rich spots along its stream. From flats to natural reefs and loaded sandbars, the river is a natural hideout for many species. This is the reason why Steinhatchee River is home to Redfish, Speckled Trout, Grouper, Cobia, Spanish Mackerel, and more. 
  • Deadman’s Bay: This is an interesting location as both river and oceanic species swim in it. Here aficionados can find an interesting mix of specimens. This makes exploring the bay an adventure as you can catch various fish like King Mackerel, Cobia, Amberjack, and Black Seabass.
  • Rock Point: This spot is amazing for sight fishing, mostly due to shallow water. The depth rarely goes over 5 feet. We recommend you use push poles and trolling motors since stealth is essential. You shouldn’t spook your fish, or you won’t get the chance to practice your casting accuracy. This place is perfect for that. 
  • The Gulf of Mexico: Folks who like to take their boat offshore for a fishing adventure love the Gulf. The region surrounding Steinhatchee is specific for its artificial reefs some 10 miles off shore. There you will get the chance to encounter Snappers (Red, Florida, and Mangrove), Groupers (Gag and Red), along with Sheepshead, Spanish Mackerel, and Bluefish.

When to Come Fishing in Steinhatchee

A pair of anglers on the water before the sunrise

One of the reasons why Florida’s Gulf Coast is such a popular fishing attraction is that there is action 365 days a year. True, offshore and nearshore fish can be seasonal, but inshore species are always available. Fishing adventures are always waiting for you.

Steinhatchee Fishing Tournaments

When it comes to activities, Steinhatchee doesn’t stop giving ’em. This town is a venue for several competitions and events. Inshore aficionados flock for UF Salty Gators Inshore Classic Fishing Tournament, IFA Pro Redfish Tournament, and Steinhatchee Community Fishing Tournament. Don’t worry – if you’re into deep sea trophies, then you’ll definitely be interested in Taking the Crown Kingfish Tournament. 

Fishing Seasons and Regulations

Though many fish are off the table out of their season, it is important to have the following in mind. The growth and number of fish can change during and out of their season. So it’s important to be informed about the bag and size limits regarding your coveted catch. Of course, be sure to abide by the law. 

Catch and Release sign on a canal dock

There’s one more thing. Just to be safe, you should check if you need a license. The majority of fishing piers are open and need no special permit. Likewise, saltwater charters cover licensing issues themselves. Nevertheless, if you want to set off on your own, you’ll need to acquire a Florida saltwater fishing license. This also goes for any location inland as you need a freshwater fishing permit. You can easily check what you need, here

Fishing Adventures for All

A beautiful Florida sunset over the flats

Hopefully after this article you are ready to try out the waters of Steinhatchee, and enjoy this haven for anglers. Whether you want to relax with your family and friends, or you want to challenge your fishing skills, these waters will provide. Visit Steinhatchee and you’ll soon make great memories, and discover why people return to this great town every year.

Not your first time in Steinhatchee? Tell us your impressions. Have we missed something you think is important?  Let us know in the comments below!

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